The day crossed the thin line of the silver water of the Wakenda creek on the old bridge with its ornate metal trusses and wood planked floor. It swirled around grain silos that stood like lone sentinels against the morning sky and past white two story farmhouses with green shudders.
The first day of school strolled quietly into town traveling down Fourth Street and past the Wakenda Elementary School. It rolled around The Church of Christ with its tall steeple glinting white in the morning sun. It marched tirelessly across Buchanan Street to engulf ‘Old Hermit’ Winfrey’s shack and then floated over the strawberry field where its breeze pulled the sweet smell from the plants.
It reached the house on the corner of Crary and brought with it a soft breeze that promised a respite from the stifling humidity of the last few weeks. The kind of dampness that made sweat bead on your forehead with just the thought of working. It would provide a welcomed relief from the oppressing heat had held the people of Wakenda hostage. Like prisoners, condemned to huddle around fans, open windows, or in rocking chairs on shaded porches where they frantically waved newspapers, flyswatters, or anything that might get a little air stirring.
The day slipped past an old redbone coonhound lying in a hole that he had dug in the soft earth beneath the porch. He opened one eye, yawned and realizing it was just the sound of the breeze rattling the loose shudders decided it wasn’t worth the trouble of moving and returned to his sleep. It awakened the Sparrows and Robins nesting in the maple trees and they began a chorus of chirping as they greeted the first soft rays of the new dawn.
Riding on the breeze the first day of school moved between the rails of the porch and climbed silently through the window. Once inside, it swirled about the small bedroom devouring the darkness and injecting the sounds and smells of late summer into every crevice.
It seeped through the seams of the tattered homemade patchwork quilt crumpled in a pile in the center of the bed and gently nudged sleep from the lump that lay curled beneath it. The lump remained motionless, its mind still struggling against sleep in an effort to regain conscious thought.
But the warmth and softness of the quilt wrapped itself more tightly around the lump’s shoulder in a desperate attempt to lure it back into its dreams. But the coming dawn was relentless and day nudged the lump harder. As the haze of sleep began to clear away…I reached out and tossed back the covers. Ready to face a new day.